Planning for Commercial and Business
Planning permission may be required for a wide variety of development, whether it be new building works or changes in the use of land or buildings.
The Planning Portal provides an introductory description of the planning system. It explains how/why to apply for planning permission and much more.
Barnet Council has also published a number of Planning Policy documents that might help you and these can be found at the following link:
Most alterations to business premises do need formal planning permission from the Council, including:
- All shop and office extensions.
- Alterations to shop fronts.
- External security shutters or grilles.
- Changes of Use.
If you want to change the use of a building or a piece of land, you may also need planning permission. It is always worth checking if you need permission, before you undertake any work.
Planning permission is not usually needed when both the existing and proposed new uses fall within the same 'Use Class'. The Summary of the Use Classes Order will give you an idea of which 'Class' your use falls into. It is also possible to change uses between some classes without making an application.
Running a business from home
Many small businesses are started by people working in their own homes and many more people are now working at home than they were prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Home-working does not necessarily require planning permission. Permission is not normally required where the use of a small part of a dwelling-house for business purposes does not change the overall character of the property's use as a single dwelling (for example, the use by a householder of a room as an office, or child minding business complying with the Department of Health's standard recommended ratios, although much will depend on the number of visitors to the property, whether anyone else is employed at the house or whether any signage or advertising is installed at the property.
Once the business or non-residential use of the property ceases to be ancillary to its use as a single dwelling because, for example, the business has grown and the use of the dwelling for business use has intensified, a material change of use for which planning permission is required is likely to have taken place. If you are in any doubt you may apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use for the proposed activity which will then confirm if a formal change of use is proposed.